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OD2-233 Communicating with Clients with Emotional, Cognitive or Behavioral Difficulties

Instructor: Denslow Brown
Total Time: 2 hours and 20 minutes
CEU: 2.5

Clients reach out to an organizer or productivity specialist because their own efforts are inadequate in making an area of their lives function properly. Hiring a professional is expensive: it costs a client money, time and vulnerability. Clients often experience distress, overwhelm, inadequacy, shame, frustration and/or confusion with us. Communicating appropriately and compassionately when difficult feelings arise is a professional skill.

An even more advanced skill is recognizing and not ignoring the possibility that the dysfunction in a client’s situation is caused or exacerbated by an undiagnosed (or misdiagnosed) brain-based condition. By ethically and effectively speaking with our clients about their challenges, we can fulfill our project responsibilities and provide extraordinary, life-changing support.

If properly trained, our work gives us a front-line public health role.

Building on the mental health conditions education in classes 1-3, this class will

  • Explain the elements of a frank intake conversation and a strong communication agreement;
  • Help you identify professional boundaries and levels of concern regarding the emotions and behaviors we might encounter in client sessions;
  • Offer appropriate and ethical communication strategies and specific language to navigate sensitive conversations; and
  • Explain additional supports we can offer, including self-care awareness, referrals, collaboration, and resources.

Learning Objectives
At the end of this course, students will be able to...
  1. Appreciate the likelihood of being contacted and hired by a client who is unaware of the brain-based condition(s) he or she may be living with.
  2. Understand how to comfortably adopt the ‘best practices’ of including in the intake conversations behavioral health inquiries, explicit confidentiality agreements and limitations (consequences) and requests for frank and respectful communication, and an honest evaluation of the match between client needs and professional services.
  3. Understand the ethics, roles and boundaries for PO/PSs (based on knowledge and experience) in working with clients with behavioral challenges and/or undiagnosed brain-based conditions.
  4. Observe, listen for and recognize the behaviors, signs, and levels of urgency that indicate a client may need an additional or different kind of professional support (than a PO/PS).
  5. Encourage empowering strategies (client identified) to support coping with organizing or productivity overwhelm.
  6. Develop an accurate, normalizing and de-stigmatizing (‘person-first) vocabulary to discuss concerns and possible next steps (productively, compassionately and ethically) regarding a client’s distressed and distressing behavior -- including on-line and hard-copy educational information and screening tools, and/or referrals to a mental health professional for support and assessment.
  7. Develop mental health referral and assessment sources for clients who may need them – and provide logistical support in preparing for the assessment, as necessary and appropriate.

Code Words
Please be sure to listen for and record the code words given during the presentation. The instructor will explicitly verbalize code words periodically throughout the class (i.e. "The first code word is...") Note: Not all instructors give code words. If you do not hear any, please indicate "none given" on the course evaluation.